Watching a star being born

Starforge is the name of a simulation program developed by an international team of researchers that enables the most realistic and highest-resolution 3D simulation of star formation to date. The result is a visually stunning, mathematically driven marvel that allows viewers to float around a colorful cloud of gas in 3D space as they watch sparkling stars form.

STARFORGE (Star Formation in Gaseous Environments) simulates an entire gas cloud for the first time, with masses 100 times greater than previously possible. It is also the first simulation to simultaneously model star formation, evolution, and dynamics, taking into account feedbacks among stars, such as jets, radiation, stellar wind, and nearby supernova activity. While other simulations have included at least individual types of stellar feedback, STARFORGE puts them all together to simulate how these different processes interact and influence star formation.

Using this beautiful virtual laboratory, researchers hope to explore long-standing questions such as why star formation is slow and inefficient, what determines a star’s mass, and why stars tend to form in clusters. Using Starforge, researchers have already discovered that protostellar jets – fast streams of gas that accompany star formation – play a crucial role in determining a star’s final mass. By calculating a star’s exact mass, researchers can then determine its brightness and internal mechanisms, as well as make better predictions about its death.

Lest you take my word for it, here are a few more simulations calculated with Starforge:

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  • BrandonQMorris
  • Brandon Q. Morris is a physicist and space specialist. He has long been concerned with space issues, both professionally and privately and while he wanted to become an astronaut, he had to stay on Earth for a variety of reasons. He is particularly fascinated by the “what if” and through his books he aims to share compelling hard science fiction stories that could actually happen, and someday may happen. Morris is the author of several best-selling science fiction novels, including The Enceladus Series.

    Brandon is a proud member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the Mars Society.